Continued from here part 4
Vargas walked with Angus and Hana for quite some time before the group was stopped by an odd sound of clanking metal and wood. The turned and walked toward a large lake and saw a strange looking machine dragging a pole over the water with a rope hanging down.
The rope began to tug from under the water and the pole raised and a man came up holding the rope. He had an odd looking helmet made of metal and glass over his head with a tube coming from the top and leading back to the machine.
As he came to the shore he removed the helmet and picked up a note book that sat on a plank on the machine. The man muttered to himself for a moment before seeing the others, "I've got no gold and I doubt you could sell my machine for much."
Vargas looked it over, "What the hell is that?"
The man smiled, "This is my mobile laboratory and defense system."
Angus huffed, "Doesn't look mobile."
The man grinned and yanked a lever. A wall on either side spun around and spring loaded wheels popped into position as a wood block pushed the body over on them. He then pulled down some folding stairs and flipped another lever that revealed a seat and pedals in the front. He then attached a set of handle bars to the front, "I wind it up with the pedals. It will go 25 miles in just under an hour before I need to rewind."
Vargas stepped up to look it over more thoroughly, "It's all clockwork, right?"
The man nodded with a grin. Angus whispered to Hana, "Don't know what's stranger, that contraption or that mustache."
Vargas looked back to the man as he stroked his absurdly long mustache, "You have a name?"
"Euripides Maximilian Marcum, friends call me Uri."
Many miles away Victor stood holding the ax Big Bear as he glared on the traitorous former marshal, Harris. Paimon looked to Belial, "Hold the men back, my Tiger is hungry."
Harris charged toward Victor and moved to slash with the Dragon's Tail but Victor knocked it away with his ax before delivering a hard punch to Harris' face. He staggered a bit and spat some blood. He again moved to attack but Victor drove his ax handle into his gut flinging him back several feet.
While this was going on Paimon unleashed a blast of red energy hoping to kill the marshals in one shot. Suddenly the land ripped upward and blocked his power. The marshal called Reeves pulled his large mace from the ground. It had five long scythe like blades protruding from the large metal ball at the end. Paimon looked stunned, "What the hell?"
Reeves smiled, "This is the Stone Crusher, I can split a mountain with this. Your skull will be no trouble."
He yelled back to the marshals, "You fellas clean up the riffraff, this one's mine."
Belial smiled as they rushed on. He ordered his men to fall back a bit. Meanwhile Harris made it to his feet and raised his blade as it became covered in blue flame. As he brought it down a rush of wind knocked it from his hand. Suddenly Victor had his hand around his throat and smashed a fist into his face before slamming him to the ground. Harris held his side as he looked up, "You intend to avenge you're old man?"
Victor spoke in a voice that was almost a growl, "You should know me better than that, boy. I'd have liked to kill him myself, but I will have justice for the fifty marshals that died to line your pockets."
Victor then kicked him in the gut, sending him a few feet in the air. Reeves again slammed Stone Crusher into the ground sending several large chunks of earth into the air. He then struck them, sending them flying toward Paimon. He twirled the Red Tiger in front of him making a shield of energy to deflect the stone. A grin began to creep over his face but a stone spear raising from behind ended it. He dodged but caught the edge as it slashed across his side. Reeves then charged, intending to end the fight.
Harris crawled to his blade but Victor stepped on his wrist before he could grab it. Before the marshals delivered their killing blows a wave of black energy swept the field. Reeves barely managed to raise another stone shield to save himself and two others and Victor managed to evade it. The rest of the marshals on the field where wiped out instantly.
As Victor looked on in horror Harris grabbed his blade and drove through his back to the hilt. He then twisted it and yanked it free. He then limped away. Belial turned to leave but Paimon attempted to finish off the few survivors. His energy lashed out but a burst of wind blocked it. Victor had used the last bit of his strength to save his men before falling over.
Paimon gritted his teeth but Belial yelled back, "We need to move."
He sheathed his sword and left with them. The three surviving marshals ran to Victor's side but he was beyond help. Victor looked up to the one called Clive,"Don't leave the Bear here."
He nodded as Victor's eyes closed. He went over to the ax and attempted to lift it but it burned his hands. Reeves took on a stern look and ripped the blood soaked shirt from Victor to wrap the ax in, "This will protect your hands."
Reeves then stood up with hate in his eyes as he spoke to Clive, "Go back to the outpost and grab the fastest horse you can find. You take the Bear with you to the Capitol and when Vargas arrives you tell him what exactly happened here, who did it and how. Don't leave out a single detail."
Clive had a grim look, "And what then?"
"Get the hell out of his way."
Back by the lake with Vargas and company, Angus looked out on their path, "If Uri was telling the truth that machine of his could shave a few days off our journey."
Uri looked up, "That all depends on where you're headed."
Vargas noted the hesitation in Uri's voice, "We're headed to the Capitol. You know the gates to the city are clockwork like your machine."
Uri seemed to have his interest piqued as Vargas continued, "They claim its the finest clockwork machine on Earth. Every time I'm there I hear someone claim no other could compare."
Uri looked back at his machine, "Is that what they say?"
Angus looked ready to chime in but Vargas waved him off, "It'd be a shame if someone did manage to out do them and nobody knew."
Uri then stroked his mustache in thought before proclaiming, "Well, I was heading there anyway, so I may as well let you tag along."
Hana fought back the urge to chuckle.
Gunnar sat in thought as he puffed away on his cigar. He casually laid a hand on the hilt of the Angel's Wrath and saw a vivid image in his mind of a bear falling to the ground. His eyes went wide as he yelled to the aide across the room, "Get me the High General."
The aide gave him a curious look. He bellowed, "Did that sound like a request, boy?!"
The aide leapt to his feet and hurried out the door as Gunnar angrily kicked his stool across the room.
Marcus entered Gunnar's chambers, "What in the name of the gods possessed you....."
He noticed the stool embedded in the plaster of the wall and the fuming anger on Gunnar's face, "What is it"
His voice was like a low growl, "Victor is dead."
Several hours later on a hill over looking the Capitol Uri's machine came to an abrupt stop. Uri had a wide grin as he looked over to Vargas, Hana and Angus clinging to their seats. Angus blurted out, "That was a hell of a lot faster than 25 miles an hour."
Uri sat his feet on the pedals, "One quick wind up and we're there."
Vargas jumped out, "No!...I mean, rest your legs, we'll camp here for the night then ride the death traa.., machine into the city tomorrow."
He then looked to Angus, "Can you help me peel Hana off her seat?"
(To be continued)